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Providence that such shall be the history of every
similar adventure. The loss of such friends becomes a gain to the enterprise, from the spirit which it awakens in others; and there can be no loss to those who, with true philanthropy, lay down their lives, a willing sacrifice, in the cause of humanity and of God.
But this interesting cause, besides affording examples of great self-sacrifice, has called into its service some men of extraordinary power as well as philanthropy, who, in a larger field, would have been admired for their talent and energy, and in their small circle manifested high gifts, and made efforts which will hereafter be remembered with honor and applause. The first of these was Mr. Ashmun, who went to Liberia in 1823. Educated for the ministry, he was wholly untrained for business and war, and was thrown at once into the midst of danger which threatened the existence of the colony. Its means and resources, inadequate at the best, were all in disorder, and he had no time to arrange them before the blow should fall. Much of the public property had been consumed by fire ; the emigrants were not properly sheltered, though the rainy season bad set in ; defences there were none, and not three dozen persons were able to bear arms. He was worn down with sickness; after nights of delirium, he was compelled to spend the day in labor; and his wife, who had come to share his fortunes, was rapidly sinking by his side. Certainly such a state of things was enough to fill the strongest and most experienced with dismay. But instead of yielding to depression, he proceeded to arrange the public affairs, providing for responsibility and order in every department. He erected buildings for the emigrants and the public stores ; he himself planned fortifications and superintended their erection, while he armed and disciplined the few soldiers that the small settlement was able to supply. So far from finding at home rest and relief from his multiplied labors, nothing can be more affecting than the account of the death-bed where his wife lay, in a miserable hut, which could not be ventilated, with the rain falling through the thatched roof upon her pillow and bed, and he, scarcely able to support his own weight, was leaning over her, while she expressed her perfect and contented resignation to a Heavenly Father's will. Surely the imagination cannot conceive a of things which would make a heavier demand on the energies of the mind and heart.
At length, the whole force of the neighbouring tribes was concentrated in a powerful assault upon the colony. This was bravely and successfully resisted. Again they came on with greater violence and numbers, while the ranks of the defenders were thinned and their strength exhausted with watching by night and labor by day. Again they were repulsed with fearful slaughter. But the ammunition of the colony was exhausted, the provisions nearly gone, the wounded suffering every thing for the want of surgical skill. Still, his confidence never failed, for it was reposed not in any human resources, but in the favor and blessing of the Most High. Neither was it disappointed; for the cannonade of the last engagement was heard at midnight by the crew of a British vessel, which happened, as men say, to be passing, though there is no such thing as chance. Major Laing, the traveller, who was on board, inquired into the cause of the firing, and when he found the little colony struggling for existence against all the tribes of the coast, generously supplied them with the means of future resistance, and, what was better, exerted a mediating influence with the assailants, which resulted in a friendly treaty and an honorable and lasting peace.
All this, one would think, was enough for one man ; but after all he had done for the colony, Mr. Ashmun was suffering from the jealousy of the society at home ; in some way or other, injurious reports had reached them and awakened suspicion. At the same time, the colonists were in a state of open mutiny, which it required all his energy to keep down. But he could not be driven from his post of duty by violent resistance or unmerited reproach. By inflexible faithfulness, he compelled the rebellious to submit to his authority, and his employers to do justice to his name ; and it was not till his character stood not only clear but highly honored, and all acknowledged the cause to be more indebted to him than to any other man, that he returned to his home, not to enjoy his honors, but to die almost at the moment of reaching his native land.
Eleven years after the death of Ashmun, the colony was happy in securing the services of another remarkable man, Thomas Buchanan, who was appointed by the government as agent for taking charge of the recaptured Africans. The several colonies were now united into a sort of federal association, called the commonwealth of Liberia, of which he was the executive head. From a timid and despondent condition, it had grown into firmness and strength, and what it wanted was a clear mind to arrange all its elements and resources, and a powerful character to make its influence felt and understood. Buchanan's first act was to seize a vessel under American colors, which hovered on the coast in such a manner as to give the impression that it was a slaver. This was a bold step, and exposed him to serious consequences, if he should have mistaken her character ; but when he considered the detestable effect of the trade upon the races near him, he did not shrink from the most determined acts of duty. He also directed a slaver, who had established himself at Little Bassa, to leave the place. The colony claimed jurisdiction there, though its right to the soil was questioned. An English trader, at the same time, established a factory there, and when he was ordered to leave it, insolently refused. Encouraged by this example, the slaver, who had promised to depart, determined to remain, and carried on his vile business more openly and largely than before. Mr. Buchanan took with him a military force to the spot, and after a sharp engagement destroyed the factories, seized the goods, and compelled the native chiefs to give up the slaves who had been carried into their countries to escape his reach. These vigorous proceedings against the slave-trade exasperated some of the native princes, and Gatoomba, one of the most powerful of their number, made an attack on some of the more exposed settlements, one of which was defended in a remarkable manner by three brave and resolute men. Finding that both colonists and natives were to suffer from this marauder, who was so savage and daring that two peaceful envoys who were sent to him were murdered in cold blood, the governor marched with a force against him, broke up the foundations of his power, and deprived him of the means of carrying on his work of cruelty and death again. A more perplexing difficulty arose within the colony, from the claim of the Methodist mission, which had been permitted to receive its supplies from home in goods that were adınitted without paying duties. He was willing that all articles intended for the personal use of the missionaries should be imported thus, but would not consent that they should enjoy an unrestricted privilege, which might throw the whole trade of the colony into their hands. In all these cases, some of which were severely trying, he bore himself
with a manly decision, which commanded universal respect and confidence. But just at the moment when the colony was receiving the greatest benefit from his services, he died. He had had time, however, to prepare the way for delivering over the chief authority into the hands of colored men, to whom, on all accounts, it is desirable that it should in future be confided.
It is still more interesting to contemplate the examples of colored men who have distinguished themselves in this history, because they prove the truth of the leading principle of the enterprise, which is, that color does not strike inward, -that, place the African in favorable circumstances for putting forth his energies, and he will not be found wanting in any respect, either in activity of mind, or in strength and determination of heart. The most distinguished illustration of this truth — we do not speak of the living
was Lott Carey, who had so strongly impressed Mr. Ashmun, no common observer, with a sense of his merits, that, when he returned to his own country, he left his office in Mr. Carey's hands, earnestly recommending him as his permanent suc
This person was originally a slave in Richmond, Virginia, rather corrupt and profane in his habits, till, at the age of twenty-six, he became a Christian believer. Feeling the disadvantages of his ignorance, he learned at that age to read and write, and, as he had much natural eloquence, he addressed his brethren with great force on the subject of their religious duties. Meantime, he became so trustworthy and efficient in the tobacco-warehouse where he was employed, that he was soon able to buy his own liberty and that of two children, and the salary paid him for his services was eight hundred dollars a year. But prosperous and respected as he was, he determined to go where, as he said, he should be “ estimated according to his deserts and not his complexion." He felt bound, also, to use his advantages to do something for his suffering race.
After he had been ordained as a preacher according to the usage of the Baptists, he proceeded to Liberia, where, retiring as he was, he soon made his real character felt, and was treated with the respect which he deserved. At the time when most of the colonists were in favor of breaking up the settlement, and retreating to Sierra Leone, on account of the dangers which beset them, he declared his fixed purpose to remain, and thus encouraged them by his firm example. When they had no physician among them, he undertook to do his best, and, by means of his good sense and experience, he was able to inspire full confidence in his patients, and, in a very extensive practice which was thus forced upon him, he met with great success. The only exceptionable part of his history was his joining the seditious persons who set Mr. Ashmun's authority at defiance and seized the public stores. But when the governor publicly represented to them the true character and tendency of their proceedings, Mr. Carey came forward at once, openly confessed his error, and ever after was among the friends and supporters of law. All this while, he did not neglect his original mission, but gave his attention to the establishment of schools and churches, and particularly interested himself in teaching the recaptured slaves. He felt himself under obligation to Africa also, and went far into the interior, founding places of instruction, where the natives could be taught the language and religion of the colonists, which many of them were earnest to know. His death was occasioned by an explosion of gunpowder, while he was preparing to assert the rights of the colony, and drive off a slaver who had established himself within a few miles' distance ; and even the loss of Ashmun was hardly more felt than his. During the six months of his administration, he had borne himself with great dignity, inspiring respect at home and abroad. He was perhaps more welcome to the settlers than any other person could have been, because he was a living example to show that the colored man was equal to every trust of duty or of honor. Happily the same confirmation is now afforded by Governor Roberts, whose able and satisfactory management of public affairs most of our readers know; and who we hope will long be spared to the community over which he so well presides.
If such examples can be found among those who were born in bondage, and therefore were most unfavorably situated for cultivating and bringing out the powers that were in them, who can doubt that the coming generation will afford innumerable more? The atmosphere one breathes is very important to the health and strength of the physical nature ; it is a sort of miracle if the system reaches its full vigor and proportions in a corrupted air, and such cases